Visceral fat is an independent predictor of all-cause mortality in men

Obesity (Silver Spring). 2006 Feb;14(2):336-41. doi: 10.1038/oby.2006.43.


Objective: To examine the independent associations of abdominal fat (visceral and subcutaneous) and liver fat with all-cause mortality.

Research methods and procedures: Participants included 291 men [97 decedents and 194 controls; mean age, 56.4 +/- 12.0 (SD) years] who received a computed tomography (CT) examination at the preventive medicine clinic in Dallas, TX, between 1995 and 1999, with a mean mortality follow-up of 2.2 +/- 1.3 years. Abdominal fat was determined using contiguous CT images from the L3-L4 to L4-L5 intervertebral space. Liver fat was assessed using the CT-determined liver attenuation value, which is inversely related to liver fat. Logistic regression was used to determine the independent association between the fat depots and all-cause mortality.

Results: During the study, there were 97 deaths. Visceral fat [odds ratio (OR) per SD: 1.83; 95% CI: 1.23 to 2.73], abdominal subcutaneous fat (1.44; 1.02 to 2.03), liver fat (0.64; 0.46 to 0.87), and waist circumference (1.41; 1.01 to 1.98) were significant individual predictors of mortality after controlling for age and length of follow-up. In a model including all three fat measures (subcutaneous, visceral, and liver fat), age, and length of follow-up, only visceral fat (1.93; 1.15 to 3.23) was a significant predictor of mortality.

Discussion: Visceral fat is a strong, independent predictor of all-cause mortality in men.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Body Composition / physiology*
  • Cause of Death*
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Humans
  • Intra-Abdominal Fat / metabolism*
  • Linear Models
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Obesity / mortality*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Risk Factors
  • Subcutaneous Fat, Abdominal / metabolism*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Waist-Hip Ratio